I have spent the last week in the French ski resort of Val d’Isère with the Army learning to ski. I have always wanted to learn how to ski properly. At university, I took lessons at my local ski slope in Castleford with the aim of going on a skiing holiday with friends. One of my close friends would work in the winter at a ski resort at one of the local bars. He would get cheap accommodation, discounted drinks and spend most of the daylight hours on the slopes. However, due to reasons I can’t quite remember (usually the case) I never went skiing in the end and shelved the thought for another day.
The Army heavily promotes skiing as an adventurous training activity. So much to the point, it only cost me £150 for a week away at one of the biggest ski resorts in the Alps. That £150 includes flights, transfers, ski hire, tuition, ski pass, accommodation and all meals. I still can’t see why it has taken me 10 years of being in the Army to finally go on a ski trip.
I am currently working as a recruiter and travelled to Val d’Isère with 100 other recruiters from all over the country. We stayed at the UCPA (https://www.action-outdoors.co.uk/resorts/winter/val-d’isere) which is in between a hostel and a hotel. The accommodation is shared 4 or 6 person rooms. The rooms are pretty basic but that is what you pay for. All the ski hire and ski pass are provided by the UCPA which vastly reduces hassle. One of the best things about the UCPA is the food. Breakfast is your standard continental (cheese, bread and cereal) but lunch and dinner are fantastic. It is a help yourself buffet so you do not go hungry after a full day on the slopes. I would highly recommend the UCPA to those that are considering going skiing. You get to meet other travellers from all over the world so if you are considering going skiing solo the UCPA would be a great place to stay.
I mistakenly got put into the intermediate group on the first day. I quickly realised I was the weak link in the group after falling over numerous times. After a day of struggling to keep up, I was moved down into the beginner’s group. Within a few days, we were confidently going down the blue and some red runs.
Highlights of the resort:
A vast number of ski runs of different difficulties.
Top cafes and nightlife.
Amazing scenery and views of the Alps.
The cost to the standard skier. If I wasn’t in the Army, it is unlikely I would pay to go.
The cost of drinks – often as high as €8 a pint (tip – drink wine.)
This will not be my last time skiing. I had a great time pushing myself out of my comfort zone and learning a new skill. When you are flying down a mountain at almost 100kph your mind is focusing on one thing. Not dying! That’s why I love adrenaline fuelled sports and activities. Even team sports such as rugby have the same effect on me. I forget about the mundane hassles of life and am focusing on the activity and nothing else. It’s my form of meditation.